The Spitzers administration’s keen interest in moving Madison Square Garden (a not-very-well-kept secret) came out into the open on Thursday morning.
The board of the Empire State Development Corporation, the state economic development agency, allocated $500,000 for a supplemental environmental impact statement for the Moynihan Station project that would consider the implications–in terms of traffic, historic preservation and whatnot–of moving the basketball arena from its present home at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue a block west, where the Farley Post Office Annex now resides.
A bigger, better Pennsylvania Station (along with a whole mess of skyscrapers) would rise in the Garden’s current location and the front end of the post office would be turned into more train station.
Once the “scoping document” comes out in the next two or three months, we will learn more about what the Garden and the private developers behind the move, Vornado Realty Trust and The Related Companies, want to do back there. It will be another two or three months for a draft general project plan, and then another two or three (or more) months before reaching the final approval stage that the old Moynihan Station plan had reached last October, when it was unceremoniously dumped by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.
“There are two fundamental issues on Moynihan that are threshold issues. One is the transportation issues,” ESDC Downstate Chairman Patrick Foye told reporters after the meeting. “The second fundamental issue relates to … how any overages are treated. The state and ESDC are not willing to sign on to unlimited liability and are going to be looking for participation, probably from the state and the city, and from the project developers as well.”
– Matthew Schuerman